The INDULGE Interview Series are conversations with industry experts for the wellness curious. These interviews hit on hot topics, wellness tools, fitness trends and anything else that is of the wellness curious Sarah Buchanan, host of INDULGE Interviews.
Have you all met my girl Chelsea Laub? We met awhile back and connect just like that. I believe it is because we are both focused on bringing tools to people and specifically women that’ll help us define our own balance.
Chelsea is the President of Crossroads Wealth Management, a financial planning service and President of Underground Social - a group of professional women who gather to network and be educated on best practices.
Below is a recap of our recent conversation:
Sarah in bold and Chelsea in regular font
Chelsea, give them two sentences on what you do!
I work with people on their personal finances to make sure what they want in the future and what they are doing today actually match up.
How would you define financial wellness. I know when we talked before I shared all of these ideas of interviews I had in mind and I was like my goodness, I never think of money in my wellness space but duh, finances are part of our wellness.
Financial Wellness is super important. Money is the number one stresser for all Americans. There are a bunch of studies about how people are financially stressed. And Stress is the number one reason we have any other issues. Your mental stress becomes very physical.
That state of your financial wellness can also be a barrier to physical health. If people are cutting budget they are likely cutting back on gym memberships or good food. So they push their physical wellness aside to focus on paying off debt or paying for medical bills or paying for other things.
As a fitness instructor and someone who believes in fitness is a window to health whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual health. I am always curious why you would not prioritize fitness in your budget. Don’t buy the pair of jeans, don’t buy the drinks! But I don’t think about, don’t pay for the medical bills - clearly that is not an option.
Now I forget what my questions was… I guess I wanted to preach for minute.
What are some of the things that I could check off our list in financial wellness. One I practice is going through my statement and deciding where I need to cut back. What are your recommendations.
The one thing people always say to me, it doesn’t matter if they make a ton of money or minimum wage is “I don't know where my money is going. I get paid and then it's gone and I don't know where it went and I don't know why I don't have savings.” One of the reasons for that is we see money so we need to spend money. I know I am wired that way so I need to trick myself into saving differently. I hide money from myself so I cannot spend money that I do not have. So much so that I have separate banks so I cannot easily transfer it.
I am sure you have heard, ‘pay yourself first’. I know when I first heard that I was like cool, that means I get to go shopping, I get go out to eat, I get to the grocery store and spend that first and what is left I can save. And in hindsight that sounds silly but that’s how I thought. What I really means is save for your retirement, save for your emergency fund and then whatever is left over is what you get to spend on entertainment and fun and fitness and all of that kind of stuff. If that means you don’t have any money left over then tough you don’t have any money left over. But your future self will thank you that those responsible things are taken care of.
The final thing I see is retirement. In that they will get to it later. So what ends up happening is that they have different retirement funds all over the place or worse, they don't have anything and it is a mess trying to figure it all out or they have to make some big sacrifices to catch up.
I used to work at a place where I had amazing benefits but I didn’t know anything about them because I saw it as, well this is my option so yeah I want it. What do I need to understand between that and I my personal financial wellness?
There are so many gaps. Yes you could educate yourself but it is so hard to learn about it.
It is so hard to learn about it. It is so overwhelming, I have no interest in it. I know that is ridiculous but it is true.
It is boring. The information is so dense. There are not a lot of resources but there isn’t much that just says ’this is your disability insurance and what it covers’ or ’this is what your life insurance is and why it may or may not be important”
There is also a huge gap in what we need to know. There is no class in personal finance or parenting. And those are the two things that give people the hardest time and we are most stressed about in our lives. "Are we raising our kids the right way or are we totally screwing them up?" And Money. "Am I making the right financial decisions.”
Part of that is the company provides benefits and they have someone come in and talk about insurance and 401k but they don’t have someone come in and talk about the personal side of it and how to utilize it for your own personal financial planning and there is always gaps so what your company provides is not always everything you need. So how do you identify those gaps, solutions and how you get to your goals?
So funny cause we talk about individualized wellness, diet, fitness, etc but we don’t consider finances. This is a huge part.
My chemical makeup is different that yours. My personal experiences are different than yours. We have both been taught different things and we have different salaries, different financial responsibilities and goals.
So we need to take the time, define our own balance. You have to stop being lazy and take the time and put in the effort to make it your own.
You can Google it. Google “How to setup my retirement plan”, “What to do with my 401k”, “How much financial stability do I need?”- you will get a million different results that say something different. It doesn’t mean any of them are wrong but how do you know what is right for you? It is a much bigger conversation and need to be educated and not salesy and I think that is one reason people avoid this conversation.
There has to be a way to have this conversation or share this information that is not mind numbing.
That is why I developed this financial wellness program because I believe it should be educational and explain why it matters to you individually without all of the extra confusing and sales information. I want you know how it pertains to you, what is the value to you, what do you personally need.
What are some tools or apps out there that can make it easier for us.
Mint on phone or desktop. I am not a spokesperson.
I love mint!
Yes, because you can set goals and budgets and then it will send you a ding..
I hate the ding… ding “you purchased too much whiskey this month… ahh shhh. Delete that alert.”
Haha. Agree! It does make you accountable and you won’t do that for yourself.
Absolutely, those things add up!
Take inventory of your debt because you are spending too much on debt and it is hard to get out of. You can do it on excel spreadsheet or what’s works for you so you know what you are working towards.
People always say, I want to be prepared for the future and sacrifice today. So one part of my job is helping you find that balance so let's figure out what is important to you and pull back on what is less of a priority to you.
Know where you’re going, know what your goals are and don’t do it alone. Like fitness! I know that when I need to make some changes to my physical fitness, I got to people like you are that are experts to help me so I do not get discouraged.
The financial advisor that you pick is important. Pick someone you would be comfortable sitting across from your loved ones because they may need to at some point and it is personal.
And people think it is expensive. Not everyone charges the same, something is aways accessible. So sit down and have the first conversation.
Where can they find you?
Financial Wellness // crossroadswealthmgmt.com
Chelsea Laub // chelsealaub.com
Instagram // @chelsealaub